CBP Announces Enhancements to ESTA

On February 23, 2016, CBP announced additional enhancements to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization ("ESTA"), as part of the continued implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.

Read full CBP Press Release.


New Immigration Judges Appointed 

On February 1, 2016, the Executive Office for Immigration Review ("EOIR") swore in nine (9) Immigration Judges, including a new IJ for the Buffalo Immigration Court.

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Proposed border security bill could require biometric inspection of everyone leaving the U.S.


Do I need a waiver to enter the United States?

QUESTION: I have never been to the United States but am concerned that I might require a waiver to enter the U.S.  When I was 18, I was charged and convicted of Uttering Threats (indictable) to destroy real property of the RCMP.  I was sentenced to 2 years probation.  It was a case of not thinking before I spoke.  It is the only conviction that I have ever had, and have not been in trouble since.  I am 40 years old now.  I really want to travel to the U.S. to visit some friends, but I am truly afraid to cross the border.  I have heard stories about people getting in a lot of trouble.  Do I need a U.S. entry waiver?  Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

REPLY: Thank you for your message.  I am sorry to hear that you are afraid to cross the border.  While I cannot provide you with case-specific information without first reviewing your case in detail, I can provide you with some general information that might be useful. 

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) § 212(a)(2)(A)(i), any foreign national convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude is inadmissible to the U.S. and will require a waiver to enter.  The term “moral turpitude” generally refers to conduct that is inherently base, vile, or depraved and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and duties owed between persons, or the duties owed to society in general.  A crime of moral turpitude (“CIMT”) has been defined as an illegal act that is, in itself, morally reprehensible and intrinsically wrong as opposed to an act that is wrong simply because it is prohibited by law.

The test to determine whether a particular crime involves moral turpitude is

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Sixth Circuit Rejects BIA's Interpretation of INA 212(h)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a precedent decision that will allow a greater number of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to avoid deportation if they can demonstrate to an immigration judge that their removal will result in extreme hardship to close family members in the United States.

With this decision, the Sixth Circuit joins the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits in holding that the bar to a waiver under § 212(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) applies only to those persons with an aggravated felony conviction who became LPRs at the time that they lawfully entered the United States. The Court found that Congress specifically intended to preserve the waiver for those who adjusted to LPR status following their entry into the U.S. For many LPRs facing removal, the § 212(h) waiver is the only means to avoid separation from U.S. family members.  The waiver under INA § 212(h) is applied for on Form I-601

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